What does a codependent girlfriend look like? Everything you need to know

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Is your girlfriend codependent?

You may have noticed behavior from her that strikes you as being unhealthy and even toxic. 

Here’s how to tell if it crosses the line into emotional codependence. 

What is codependence?

Simply put, codependence is depending on someone else for your sense of well-being. 

In a relationship, it manifests as being unable to be satisfied or have a sense of worth without a cycle of approval-seeking and approval-giving that the relationship provides. 

In short, codependence is an unhealthy attachment to someone which can often disguise itself as love, sympathy, or compassion but in reality, is an addictive and disempowering cycle. 

Let’s take a look at the top 10 signs that you have a codependent girlfriend, starting with the signs that she’s codependent in an anxious way.

1) She’s clingy

Let’s not mince words: the first thing a codependent girlfriend does is she sticks to you like glue

She won’t go anywhere unless you go with her. She demands your full and constant attention on a scale that almost seems like parody. 

If you don’t answer messages within a few minutes she’s flying off her rocker and believing you don’t love her. 

British psychologist John Bowlby developed the concept of relationship styles and noted that people often relate in an anxious, avoidant, anxious-avoidant or secure attachment style. 

This is definitely on the anxious scale: she needs constant validation that she is good enough and believes she is a victim and you need to “save” and “comfort” her.

2) She demands you compliment her

The next sign of a codependent girlfriend is a need for constant flattery and assurances. 

She expects you to be like her personal cheerleader.  

This means that whether or not you’re in the mood, you’d better pepper her with some kind words and good compliments. 

If she asks whether she looks fat it’s the start of a fight, more or less. 

If you say no she accuses you of lying, if you say a bit she says you’re an asshole. 

Having a codependent girlfriend who relies on you for her own sense of self-esteem can be a waking nightmare. 

3) She has a victim mentality

The next of the disturbing indicators that your girlfriend has a codependent personality is that she clings to the victim mentality

She focuses in on every single time in life that she’s been victimized and treated unfairly…

…Then she more or less puts it on you to “fix” or help resolve that. 

This highly toxic behavior is much more common than you might think. 

It is definitely true that hurt people hurt people, but this goes beyond that:

It goes into her basically demanding that you either save her or be to blame for all her unhappiness and past traumas.

This is an impossible task, and you’ll eventually be blamed much more than you’re praised.

4) She blames you for her problems

This brings me to the next indicator of a codependent girlfriend because it’s closely related. 

Due to expecting you to “fix” and help resolve the victimization and trauma she feels or has felt, she blames you for her problems

Basically, if you haven’t made her feel better or literally fixed problems she has in her job search, personal life, family relationships, health or so on, then you’re to blame by default.

Why are you to blame?

Because you were already the one she is banking on to set her life right. 

If her life isn’t right then it’s your fault for not already having made it right. 

Not a very fun game, is it?

5) She weaponizes her moods against you

Another of the indicators that your girlfriend is highly codependent is that she weaponizes her moods. 

This generally falls in the anxious-avoidant category, in that it can be used by her to crave and demand validation and also to avoid intimacy and try to control you as part of the avoidant pattern. 

Basically, she will be in a good mood if you do what she says and become a raging dumpster fire if you don’t do what she wants. 

This can become horribly transactional, resulting in you feeling like you are basically a slave of your girlfriend. 

Next up let’s take a look at the signs she’s codependent in a more controlling way where she tries to make you the victim or the one who needs “help.”

6) She undermines your independent identity

Your girlfriend may be codependent in a different way. She sometimes pulls away from you in an avoidant way, but she also makes you feel like you can’t live without her. 

She feels the need to fix you and be in charge of your life to do what’s best for you in her eyes. 

If you fall into the victim or anxious mentality then this may become highly toxic and hard to escape. 

If you have a secure attachment style then you may find her attempts to basically control you to be highly repulsive and not effective. 

It’s like you’re her pet project and she feels the need to use you for her own sense of mission in the world…

None of us want this kind of love, because it’s not really love. 

So how do you find empowering and genuine love? 

One thing I highly recommend is this free masterclass on finding love and intimacy by the shaman Rudá Iande

It gets deep into why people fall into codependency and how to get out of it in an empowering and surprising way. 

7) She convinces you that you’d never survive without her

The girlfriend with a codependent personality that’s more controlling will tend to convince you that you wouldn’t survive without her. 

She tries to decide what’s best for your life and any opinion you have to the contrary is delusional or contrary to your own best interests. 

Basically, if you don’t listen to her then you’re doubting her love for you. 

She spins a tale in which she rescued you from your poor life and lonely existence and she’s the solution to it all.

8) She bases her mood directly on your mood

Another sign of a highly codependent girlfriend is one who has no ability to separate her own moods and well-being from you. 

If you’re down, she’s down. 

But not in an empathetic way, more in a toxic and controlling way

If you’re anxious and she bumps the car into someone else, you literally caused the accident by being anxious and making her anxious. 

Needless to say, this kind of nonsense can quickly lead to the end of the relationship because of how unfair and delusional it is. 

You need to be happy or you’re responsible for her not being happy and potentially doing bad things.

Get it?

9) She takes responsibility for your problems

Next up in the codependent girlfriend symptoms is when she takes responsibility for your problems. 

Her need to play the savior role leads to her deciding that she must suffer and work to fix and help you even if it destroys her. 

Any guilt or shame you feel over that only adds to her feeling a need to then stop you from feeling the guilt. 

This cycle keeps snowballing until she ultimately becomes miserable but tells you that she has to be miserable in order to save you. 

What a disaster.

10) She casts herself as the savior and solution to your life

The idea of one person saving another in a relationship is really toxic. 

What’s worse is that it never succeeds. 

By her trying to lean on you and have you fix her life or take responsibility for her problems, she transfers the burden of living her own life onto you. 

When it’s the reverse and she gives the responsibility to fix your life onto her shoulders, she’s depriving you of free choice and setting herself up in a non-romantic caretaker role. 

The cycle of resentment and misunderstanding and frustration that then stacks up is enormous, which is why patterns like this must be called out as soon as possible when they start cropping up in relationships. 

What to do next…

If your girlfriend is codependent, you’re probably wondering what to do next. 

The fact of the matter is that codependence isn’t an easy thing to solve, but there are ways to address it that cut right through all the noise and get to the solutions. 

I strongly urge readers urge you to check out the free masterclass on finding love and intimacy by the shaman Rudá Iande which I recommended earlier. 

It was really eye-opening for me and showed me ways I was feeding into a codependent cycle with my own girlfriend.

Most of all, don’t forget that codependence isn’t a death sentence and it isn’t necessarily the end of the relationship. 

We all have codependent patterns and habits that sometimes pop up. But if your girlfriend is falling heavily into codependent behavior it is definitely worth your while to work on addressing it before it sinks the relationship. 

Can a relationship coach help you too?

If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.

I know this from personal experience…

A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.

If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.

In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.

I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.

Click here to get $50 off your first session (exclusive offer for Hack Spirit readers).

Paul Brian

I’m a multimedia journalist with experience in print, photography, video, and online. My passion is reporting on individuals, faiths, nations, and situations that impact us all on the journey of life.

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